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Michigan Cities Try To Block Marijuana Sales
Posted by CN Staff on January 02, 2010 at 05:37:37 PT
By Jennifer Chambers, The Detroit News
Source: Detroit News
Michigan -- Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, but communities across the state are putting up barriers to block entrepreneurs from setting up shop in what critics say is a clear attempt to subvert the law.Cities are taking vastly different approaches to regulating how medical pot is dispensed -- from bans in Livonia to months-long moratoriums on marijuana businesses in Grand Rapids and Saginaw, to an environment of open mindedness in Hazel Park, where city leaders see pot dispensaries as a potential revenue source.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan says it is keeping an eye on the dizzying array of laws popping up across the state as local leaders from big cities to rural enclaves try to interpret Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act, which passed in 2008 by 63 percent and establishes the right of certified patients and caregivers to possess pot. Patients can legally use it.One caveat all pot peddlers should know: The act does not address dispensaries -- places where marijuana can be obtained by certified patients or their caregivers -- leaving them vulnerable to interpretation by municipalities."A ban is the de-facto law regardless of what a city would pass. There is no protection for dispensaries," said Brandy Zink, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association.In October, President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department to cease raids on medical dispensaries in 13 states where medical marijuana laws have been passed. Still, many Michigan communities have enacted restrictions on growers or those with hopes of starting a business in the emerging field. From Bans To 'Pot Zones' In Livonia, the City Council amended an ordinance to say any business in violation of local, state or federal law is prohibited. The words "medical marijuana" are absent from the ordinance, yet Livonia Police Chief Bob Stevenson said from conversations he's had with federal drug officials, dispensing marijuana remains illegal under federal law.Stevenson said the new ordinance, passed in July, prohibits marijuana dispensaries from obtaining a license to operate in the Wayne County suburb."We don't want to be in the position of sanctioning something that is in violation of federal law," Stevenson said. "These dispensaries are a business -- a million-dollars business ... because it's such a valuable crop. It's worth a lot."Royal Oak, a progressive Oakland county suburb, was on the verge on creating a "pot zone" along Woodward Avenue where growers could open shop. But after the police chief got wind of Livonia's ordinance, the city is considering following Livonia's lead and banning dispensaries.Michael Steinberg of the ACLU said his office stands ready to challenge any ordinance that conflicts with state law. Steinberg reviewed the Livonia ordinance and said it does not ban dispensaries, according to his interpretation."The state has occupied the field in regulating medical marijuana, and these municipalities simply can't regulate it," Steinberg said. "We have patients and caregivers who are following the law. And it's the city and municipalities who are flouting it."Hazel Park, a blue-collar inner-ring suburb of Oakland County, is one community considering a different approach for medical marijuana as a business.City Manager Ed Klobucher said the city has been approached by several groups who are interested in creating a business enterprise for medical marijuana in the city. Proposal To Be Considered  Talks have just begun, and the City Council is expected to soon consider a business proposal for a medical marijuana facility that incorporates a clinic, school and marijuana pickup site where patients can smoke it in the industrial business district.Medical marijuana cannot be sold to patients under the law, but caregivers who provide the plant in medicinal form are allowed to be compensated for their services.City Councilman Andy LeCureaux said he has shown a few large-scale industrial buildings to business groups interested in setting up shop in the city."We have some industrial sites which would be ideal for a secure grow facility. The people who have approached us have business degrees. They all want it to be above-board legal with community support," he said.LeCureaux said Hazel Park needs to amend its zoning laws to make a medical marijuana facility an allowable use outright or make it allowable with a variance."For our community I'm looking at this for economic development and stabilizing home values. Some patients, if they see a community which is friendly toward that plight, they may want to relocate to that community," said LeCureaux, who knows two people who have moved from Ohio to his city in hopes it will become marijuana friendly.In Grand Rapids, city leaders have enacted a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana distribution until the city's planning commission can come up with rules for it.City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz, who has proposed allowing dispensation only from medical facilities and homes, and banning stand-alone dispensaries, said the focus is on controlling the number of dispensaries so they don't proliferate as they did in Los Angeles.In January, Los Angeles will consider an ordinance to reduce the number of dispensaries -- estimated at 1,000 -- and push them out of neighborhoods and into industrial areas."The challenge for me was balancing the police position with state law and the concerns of neighborhoods and zoning law decisions. The concern from the planning commission is we don't want neighborhoods to turn into distributions centers," Schulz said.Schulz said Grand Rapids wants to create an ordinance that can be adopted by surrounding communities."For local communities, there is not an option of not doing anything. You need to pass a moratorium or come up with some language that discusses these dispensaries," she said. "You have to provide some protection to the community. If you have nothing on the books, they will say there is no rule for it."Note: Some communities devise tough rules as state law leaves gray area on distribution.Source: Detroit News (MI)Author: Jennifer Chambers, The Detroit NewsPublished: January 2, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Detroit News Contact: letters detnews.com Website: http://www.detnews.com/ URL: http://drugsense.org/url/jTfINTD7Cannabis News Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on January 03, 2010 at 13:20:08 PT
Brandon Boatman
You can go directly to the paper's web page with a link there at the Media Awareness Project. There is a very nice photograph of a smiling Mr. Boatman.Webpage: http://drugsense.org/url/Gevp4xI1Thank you so much, Mr. Boatman. Well done. Very well done.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on January 03, 2010 at 13:08:12 PT
This looks good. Simple and to the point.
US MO: OPED: Government Wrong to Make Criminals of Marijuana Usershttp://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n007/a09.html?397
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on January 03, 2010 at 12:37:34 PT
Animals sensing catastrophes
I think probably their hearing picks up these things happening far, far sooner than ours. They can hear the waves coming. They hear and feel the warning tremors, rumblings, and movements far sooner than we do. They know at some point, sooner than we, that there is a serious threat. Atmospheric pressure changes are probably more easily felt by them. They can likely hear the wood giving way in trees long before people can. I suspect they can communicate these dangers to each other better than they can communicate them to us, too. They can hear and recognize certain car engines long before the people around them can. They recognize the engine sound their owners cars make and will be ready to greet them before most people near them realize they are actually hearing an engine approaching.They smell things, too. Like the smell that fear causes in other animals. They sense things from the activities of even smaller creatures around them and at some point, instinct will force them to act to try and get away from the danger.They know something's up when you rattle your keys or pack a suitcase. They know something's up when various large and small or unusual sounds, activities, or feelings crop up in their world.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 03, 2010 at 09:47:30 PT
Had Enough
I am on the same page as you are. I can tell when a storm is coming because the woods fall silent. If it's pouring down buckets of rain and I hear birds I know it is almost over. I understand animals very easily and have a hard time understanding people.
Moose ~ My New Rottie
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Comment #8 posted by Had Enough on January 03, 2010 at 09:21:38 PT
Animals know things
Tsunami Animals A story of survival.Sixth Sense?There were many stories after the December 26th 2004 tsunami of animals vacating the danger areas for higher ground hours before the deadly 'Harbour Wave' struck with such devasting effect.Flocks of birds, elephants, buffalo, antilopes etc. all flew and stampeded for higher and safer ground. Dogs refused to go for their run on the beach. Hares and rabbits had disapeared. In the aftermath of the tsunami's destruction, survivers were amazed at how few dead animals there were amonst the debris. In some parts not a single dead animal was found! All this was in areas where human fatalities were numerous and where cars and fishing boats had been flung into tree tops.There are no definate answers to this phenomenon but as you would expect, many theories. One theory is that animals have "sixth sense" although met with great sceptisism by scientists. There is thought that elephants have extra senses in their feet that can sense vibrations and even recognise different types of vibration. There is of course the fact that animals in general can hear frequencies that humans cannot. Animals also pick up on natural signs developed over thousands of years and this may give them alert signals. Humans are distracted by many material objects that have no interest whatsoever to the animal kingdom. Birds in particular are constantly adjusting to environmental changes, and perhaps their distress signals alert other creatures. Elephants are known to lay their trunks on the ground when an airplane or truck generates large seismic noise as if to feel it.The truth is that nobody knows for certain. But the fact is that, to a very great extent, animals escaped the 2004 tsunami.***Wise Elephants.In Khao Lak, 50 miles north of Phuket along Thailand's western coast, a dozen elephants giving tourists rides began trumpeting hours before the tsunami struck the shore lines.About the time the 9.0-magnitude quake fractured the ocean floor. An hour before the wall of waves slammed the resort area, the elephants reportedly again grew agitated and began trumpeting in a distressed manner. Just before disaster struck, they fled for higher ground -- some breaking their chains to flee. Flamingos that breed this time of year at Point Calimere sanctuary on India's southern coast left for safer forests well before the tsunami hit. One herd of elephants reportedly cleared a path in Banda Aceh, in order to make their way to higher ground. Sensitive to ground vibrations, elephants may have detected the undersea quake long before the tsunami hit. At the hard-hit Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, stunned wildlife officials reported that hundreds of elephants, leopards, tigers, wild boar, deer, water buffalo, monkeys and smaller mammals and reptiles had escaped unscathed. And while large turtles have been found dead in the debris along the shore of Indonesia's devastated Aceh province, the tsunami's impact on wildlife was "limited," said Frank Momberg, coordinator for emergency response in Aceh for the conservation group Fauna & Flora International.Tales of animals behaving strangely before the quake and of wildlife escaping to safety abounded in the wake of the tsunami, raising questions about what these members of the animal kingdom knew that humans didn't -- and what, if anything, can be learned from it? Seismologists have sophisticated instruments that can measure quake factors during and after the fact, but experts admit no one can predict exactly when one will happen. Some scientists say certain animals have a kind of sensory hard-wiring that can detect earthquakes ahead of time, which one day might be replicated in man-made instruments.Reports of animals' "sixth sense" in detecting hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions long before the earth starts shaking go back centuries. Rats racing from buildings, sparrows taking flight in flocks, dogs howling incessantly: It's an impressive track record, though anecdotal. After the 2004 tsunami, a Danish man staying in Ao Sane Beach, north of Phuket, wrote on a Danish Web site: "Dogs are smarter than all of us. . . . They started running away up to the hilltops long before we even realized what was coming."More on the subject...http://www.nickylewin.com/nickylewintsunak.html
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 03, 2010 at 07:31:08 PT
Had Enough and Runruff
My son was in LA when the North Ridge Earthquake hit. 24 hours before the quake his dog and cat acted crazy and spooky. After the quake he realized why. They knew it was coming.
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Comment #6 posted by Had Enough on January 02, 2010 at 23:45:05 PT
runruff...Dogs and Dolphins...
Thanks...for the Dolphin info...Dolphins...Im very fortunate to have been around them... Very smart mammals... Ive had them come right up to the boat...at other times they would swim right off the bow when we were underway...sometimes I would speed up and slow down just to watch their reaction...they would stay pretty much the same distance off the bow of the boat, approximately 6 to 10 ft, regardless of the speed...other times when we were at anchor or just drifting...they would just hang around the boat...very cool...Ive watched them hunt...very clever they are...they will circle a school of mullet and corral them...then we would watch them individually take turns swimming into the middle of school of fish and feeding. After one dolphin would get a fish, it would return to the circle then another one would move in and get its catch. This would go on for about 15 minutes or so. When they were finished feeding, they would swim off releasing the remaining mullet they had corralled up...very cool...very fast, and intelligent too...Smarter than the average bear??? ...;)***Dogs...About 18 yrs ago we adopted a stray dog that nobody wanted. For about 3 days that dog was barking at something...we kept trying to figure it out...we thought raccoon, opossum, stray cat etc... A rather large Hickory tree fell and landed on the roof of our house at 3 am on a Sunday morning. We had only had that pooch for about 2 maybe 3 weeks when that happened.Dogs...People should be more like them...
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on January 02, 2010 at 19:28:46 PT
runruff
That last quake was in Mexico just across the border near Mexicali.I gather it was one of the underground smuggling tunnels that collapsed.But thanks for the warning, I will keep my eyes peeled!kaptinemo: Yes the police are now a fully active 4th branch of the US Federal Govt.
Legalise it now!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on January 02, 2010 at 19:14:05 PT
ha,ha,ha,!
I meant the "west coast shore"!Ever seen a dry coast shore?jes' sayin'
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on January 02, 2010 at 19:12:13 PT
O/T
During the solstice drum circle, Chief Sun Bear informed us that the dolphins are fleeing the wet coast shore. They are all moving west out to sea.Watch for something big.We just had a 5.9 earthquake in So Cal.I take this very seriously I'll tell you why.I once owned a nice riding horse and three pack ponies. Early one summer morning I was looking out of my kitchen window while washing my breakfast dishes. I noticed how the horses were standing on the opposite side of the pasture instead of on this side near my window under a giant oak where they hang out in the shade all day during the summer.I thought it was unusual but I left to go to work in my patch anyway. That day we had a major earthquake. That evening when I returned half of the giant oak had fallen exactly where the horses liked to hang out. The tree half that fell yielded two and a half cords of firewood so if you know cordage you know a lot of tree fell.The horses knew 24 hours before it was going to fall.How much more sensitive are dolphins?jes' sayin'
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Comment #2 posted by ezrydn on January 02, 2010 at 13:13:52 PT:
Constitutional Question
Is it in the Michigan Constitution? If so, then take a hint from the Colorado Contitutional ruling.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on January 02, 2010 at 11:47:44 PT:
And here's a basic problem
...Livonia Police Chief Bob Stevenson said from conversations he's had with federal drug officials, dispensing marijuana remains illegal under federal law...But after the police chief got wind of Livonia's ordinance, the city is considering following Livonia's lead and banning dispensaries..."The challenge for me was balancing the police position with state law ...Tell me, did we have a Constitutional Convention recently, where we have now created a fourth Branch of government, called Police?The police rightfully have no 'position'. They are (purportedly) 'public servants', though they certainly do not wish to think of themselves as such. They are employees of the taxpayers, not masters of them. They are to take orders from the democratically elected officials, who themselves take orders from the electorate. And the electorate has spoken loud and clear on this: they want MMJ.If both the police and elected offciials don't understand that, then it's time to make that clear in the next election cycle...
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